Die Adelaider Zeiten
The Adelaide Times (better than the New York Times)
Edition 16 – Friday 25th December 2015

Written and edited by "der umherziehende Reporter"
Continuing in the tradition of Die Rüsselsheimer Zeiten (35 editions in 19 months, 1998-2000),
this is my summary of the past 52 weeks in Adelaide.

The big news this year is that I have become a university student again!  This seems absurd at 2 levels –
(1) When I left The University of Adelaide after studying for my Bachelor of Science, my mind was so severely stressed that I promised never to return to university.
(2) I have been out of the university system for 39 years, but the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) allowed me to enrol in my first choice programme – postgraduate Master of Teaching, specialising in secondary mathematics, at the University of South Australia (UniSA).
Just when people of my age are retiring, the thing which first attracted my attention was a TV news story saying that there's a shortage of mathematics teachers, and it looks like becoming worse as more maths teachers retire.  In October 2014 I had a random encounter with a man I'd known several years ago; he'd become a school teacher a bit late in his working life.  I asked him whether it's ridiculously late for someone 60 years old to become a student of teaching.  He said "no, if it's meant to be, it will go ahead" and he recommended UniSA.  So I jumped in, hoping for the best, but having difficulty figuring out how the UniSA study system works.  Gone are the days when students attended lectures, copied the notes written on the blackboard, and simply answered questions about it in an exam (as I did at The University of Adelaide from 1973-1975).  UniSA requires students to do a lot of reading (which is my main weakness) from a combination of a few purchased text books, several supplied text files on the computer network, and other genuine academic sources that we can find via the internet.  Assessment methods are mixed – essays, exams & live presentations in front of the class.

The postgraduate teaching programme is conducted at the Mawson Lakes campus.  This is the same campus where I was unsuccessful at studying Chemical Technology in 1972 – the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) at the Levels Campus.  When UniSA was created almost 25 years ago, SAIT and a few of the Teachers Colleges were allocated to it.  Mawson Lakes campus covers about twice the area it did in 1972, and what was a desolate part-time swamp beside it is now a beautiful modern residential suburb with well-defined lakes.  I usually travel by train using my Seniors Card.  I am older than almost all of the teachers.

After only 3 weeks of trying to handle a full workload of 4 courses ("subjects" in old language), I discovered that I was unable to cope with the extreme stress, and withdrew from 2 courses on the advice of the Counsellor and academic advisor.  By the middle of the year, I had passed my 2 remaining courses – one of which involved my first university exam since November 1975 when Sir John Kerr (the Governor General) was busy sacking the Federal Government.  It was a relief to get those 2 courses out of the way, but the stress had led me to eat a lot of junk food (in addition to good stuff), so I've put on a lot of weight, and had a run of poor health & lack of concentration in the 2nd half of the year.  I haven't handed up any work for assessment, although the Course Co-ordinator recently allowed me some extra time.  My concentration is now improving, so I think I can do it in an uncomfortable rush.  In the first half of 2016 I'll do the 2 courses from which I withdrew early this year.

It's all about learning pedagogy (how to teach) – not about learning mathematics etc. (which is assumed to have occurred in the undergraduate degree).  That's why it's only a 2 year full-time programme.  Some of the courses are general (e.g. "Development, Learning and Cognition" is about brain development and a few popular psychology theories), while others focus on learning how to teach particular school subjects (e.g. "Science and Mathematics for Secondary Teaching 3").

Extra formalities:
From 2016, most new teachers beginning employment will be required to have passed the Australia-wide Literacy and Numeracy Test.
"This will ensure that teacher education graduates have levels of literacy and numeracy at least equivalent to those of the top 30% of the population and relevant to teaching."
The federal government paid the test fees for students who attempted it this year.  I passed the test on 31st August.
All staff & volunteers working amongst children need to attend a 1-day training course "Responding to Abuse and Neglect."  I did so in April.
My criminal history screening has been done, and the certificate is valid until February 2018.

I continue to be an active member of Prospect Road Uniting Church.  There are still 2 of us who equally share the load of operating the computer during Sunday worship services.  Our ordained minister Wendy Prior prepares her own PowerPoint presentation of the liturgies, hymns etc., but our lay minister Donald Sarre relies on us 2 techies to prepare the PowerPoint files according to his well-made plans.
Wendy left us a few weeks ago, and Donald is leaving us next week.  Our "new" full time minister (who starts at the beginning of January) is Jenny Walker, previously at Lefevre Uniting Church in the north western suburbs.

With the commencement of university lectures on Monday 23rd February, it was necessary to hand over the leadership of the Monday Bible Study group to another member.  However, I have continued to attend most sessions of the Tuesday evening Bible Study group.

For 7 weeks during August & September, I produced the church newsletter while my fellow techie & his wife were away on holidays.  I must have done it well, because they offered me the task permanently – but I had to decline because it's a surprisingly time-consuming exercise.

Since 4 weeks ago, I'm finally connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN), with optic fibre to the home (ftth).  I pay for the slowest speed limit (12 Mbps) which is about double the speed that I was achieving with ADSL2+.  For most downloads, I can't notice the difference because the amount of data is relatively small or the server is delivering data at a slower speed than 6 Mbps.  Nevertheless, I'm content with it because it's a bit cheaper than my old plan (which included unwanted phone line rental).  I have the same Netphone (VOIP) number as before.  NBN installations (including the 2 communication boxes and battery backup box) are paid for by the federal government.  iinet (my internet service provider) gave me a free gigabit speed 4-port modem/router/switch for going on a 2 year contract while switching plans, so I'm a winner from every angle.

On the political side – the NBN project was created by the former Labor Party government, but (like many of their ideas) was under-funded and overly ambitious.  The original estimate for me to be connected was February 2013, more than 6 months before the Labor government was elected out of office.  The Liberal/National parties government then slowed things down for economic reasons, proposing fibre to the node (fttn) delivery instead.  I'm lucky because my area had enough infrastructure already installed to make the downgrade unnecessary.

My activity with the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) continued at a slightly decreased level this year.  I participated in most of the monthly Saturday & Sunday rides, and led the Saturday run in October.

From 5th to 7th June, I attended the Wintersun Run rally at Mildura, Victoria (400 km from Adelaide).
It was held in the grounds of the local motorcycle club, where a Speedway racing event for classic era motorcycles was held.  There were very few CMA members attending this year.  Unfortunately, rain fell a day before, resulting in standing water in most of the places where tents should be pitched, and the organisers were not on top of some other important issues.  Nevertheless, it was good to meet a few friends from interstate.

On the weekend of 28th to 30th August, a large number of us attended the Peregrine Motorcycle Rally at Jabuk (only just big enough to be called a town), 160 km south east of Adelaide.  Not a long trip, but we met several friends from interstate.  This rally is an annual event organised jointly by the CMA and Pilgrims Christian Motorcycle Club.

Both of my BMW motorcycles are now ready for action.  Photos below from last year – gold 1977 R100RS, blue & white 1977 R100/7 haven't had their outward appearance changed, but there have been extensive internal repairs.  Both engines have hardened valve seats, new bearings, cylinder barrels, pistons & rings.  One bike has new steering head bearings; the other has new swing arm bearings.  Both are performing as they did in the late 1970s, with the basic running-in period complete.

My involvement with the Gideons has reduced this year.  My term as Treasurer of the local group finished in May.  As in previous years, I placed Bibles in the rooms of several motels along Main North Road and in North Adelaide, and distributed pocket testaments at The University of Adelaide and three times in high schools.  If you are a customer in a motel room where there is no Bible, please ask the manager why the room is not fully equipped for visitors.

During this year, the Gideons commenced doing "street ministry" in Rundle Mall on Friday evenings.  I attended on a couple of occasions around July or August, and hope to get back to it next year as time permits.  We have an extremely quiet approach, like about 4 other Christian groups who tend to go almost unnoticed there, and very much unlike the loud preachers who are famous for pronouncing condemnation on people.  As Mal Garvin nicely put it several years ago, "What we don't need is the Second Coming of the Pharisees."

I continue to be an active member of the Hillman Car Club of South Australia, although I missed a few of the monthly runs.  Another casualty of university study was the club magazine – I had to resign from the temporary position of Newsletter Editor where I filled in for 2 full years.  At the Annual General Meeting in August, I was again re-elected to the position of Social Events Officer (planning ahead & co-ordinating the people who volunteer to organise specific events).  I also continue in the appointed position of Webmaster (since 2001).
Photos below:  Some of the cars & people at the annual Rootes Group clubs run (Hillman, Humber, Singer, Sunbeam) – a picnic in Oaklands Reserve.  These 4 clubs are currently increasing efforts to interact and invite each other to their monthly car runs.

My local member of federal parliament posted cards to everyone saying "Season's greetings."
I ask "What season is that?"
If a season is important enough to say a greeting, say what its name is!

Please remember that this is the Christmas season – not simply "the festive season," nor shopping season.  Don't forget the baby!

Picture at left from "The Nativity of Jesus Christ" web page by Tom Perna.

Ich wunsche Euch frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr !
(I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !)

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